Here is the text of the response offered by Druid Hills Baptist Church to the Georgia Baptist Convention Executive Committee's recommendation to disfellowship the church. It was delivered today by Carey Charles at the annual meeting of the Georgia Baptist Convention in Albany, Georgia.
My name is Carey Charles; I am a Deacon from Druid Hills Baptist Church and I am the 4th generation of my family who have faithfully served at DHBC. I am here to represent first the membership of this congregation currently at the corner of Ponce and Highland in Atlanta.
I am grateful to the Georgia Baptist Convention for providing this opportunity for me to voice our Church’s opposition to the breaking of fellowship with the Druid Hills Baptist Church although we are fully aware that the body gathered here today will most likely , but not necessarily follow the recommendation of the Executive Committee’s Report.
We are aware that the GBC has historically argued for the autonomy of the local church to call whomever the church agrees upon as pastor and that the GBC has recognized both Dr. Graham Walker and the Reverend Mimi Walker serving as Pastors in the GBC for many years as evidenced in the Annual books of Records.
We are also aware that the GBC may choose to associate with any church in accordance with its stated policy.
Given this, please recognized our goal at DHBC is missional first and foremost. When Baptist churches are closing their doors inside the I-285 Perimeter today at an historically rapid pace, and the once 166 Baptist churches are now down to a mere 39, we at DHBC choose to stay and bear testimony as stated in our core values: We Love God, Share Christ, Serve Others and Grow in Faith.
In staying, we recognize that we must ask tough questions, missional questions, not simply how unified our local church is, but also how unified is "our church" in our neighborhood, city and world immediately surrounding us.
Therefore, we chose the Walkers, both of whom have been equally recognized as partners in mission by the International Mission Board of the SBC for twelve years of service in the Philippines, to equally share our pastorate in what is now a growing mission field Inside Atlanta.
We at DHBC understand the intent of the Baptist Faith and Message in its past, present and future forms to be a document that seeks to unite the Southern Baptist community in advancing the mission and ministry of Christ in a world that knows him not.
We believe it is a privilege to show the world inside the Perimeter of Atlanta, that the family of God recognizes equality of leadership in mutual servant-hood to each other, not in subordination of one gender to another. In the eyes of God, in the body of Christ, there is neither Male nor Female.
For these stated reasons we oppose the Executive Committee report recommending the Druid Hills Baptist Church a non-cooperating church and ask this body to join with our community of faith to bring Christ back inside the perimeter of Atlanta, co-laboring together—women and men.